Friday, 11 May 2012

Hello, my name is Carmen and I am an...

This was posted by a well meaning person on my blog yesterday.
" the word atheism may be turning people off......unless u make a point that u are AGAINST IT! "
Okay, I suppose it is as good a time as any to address this. I hate defending myself to people. I don't really do it that often, but I hate being judged and it makes me feel like I am somehow validating the judge's opinion by responding to it. I don't have the greatest self esteem, frankly, and it really bothers me when someone doesn't like me. Silly, of course, not everyone is going to like me, agree with me, or understand me. Still, I want to reply to this one, because it is a topic I have been thinking about a great deal lately.
I feel like I am admitting to a terrible character flaw, or a disgusting personal habit. I know there are people who will decide I am not worth talking to because of this, and people who will try and save me from myself, or advise me to keep it under wraps, because all of these reactions have occurred in the past. But enough. Let me just come out and say it.
I am an atheist.
Yep, I freely and of my own will admit that I do not believe in a god (or goddess). I am not agnostic, because I have pondered, reasoned and decided that I do not believe there is or was a creator, or that there is or was anyone directing human lives or civilization other than the other humans involved.
That being said, I am not a rabid anti-theist. I believe that all people have the right to worship, believe, and take comfort in their personal belief systems. I respect that people will speak of their religious beliefs and affiliations.
I take exception, however, to those who use their beliefs to pass judgement on me. I also have little tolerance for those who insist on promoting their faith as the one true way, and who denigrate those who believe otherwise.
I am not amoral, nor do I think that anarchy is the way to go. I believe in human beings as generally good people, with some blind spots and  problems, but basically good. I base my moral code on the concept of creating as much comfort and joy in the world and as little suffering and anger as possible. I also believe in treating most people as individuals with needs as valid and important as my own. I  I believe that all human lives are valuable and that everyone matters and has a place in the world that is important, no matter what their abilities, potential, religion or worldview, including those I don't understand or necessarily agree with. I think that those who use their beliefs to try to bully or abuse others into agreeing are wrong. I believe that those who hurt or subjugate others in the name of their beliefs, or doing what they are told and not thinking about what is right, are dead wrong. I don't say that they are worthless or stupid, I say they are careless, lazy, and often willfully ignorant.
I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, and in treating everyone well, for no other reason than that it is no more difficult than mistrust and selfishness and that when you treat others as you want everyone to be treated (including yourself and those you love) you make the world a better place to live in. Because everyone is connected, every living thing is connected, and you never know how your actions will affect others. So I do what good I can. I take joy in what I can. I try not to let bad stuff make me miserable or bitter. I don't always succeed, and no one is perfect, but I do try.
If people feel they are morally obligated by their religious beliefs to tell me I am wrong and to unfriend, unfollow, or ignore me, I respect their right to do so. I am not going to get into debates about this, and I am not going to change my mind, be saved, or any of the other euphemisms for religious devotions. I am happy as I am, and I don't believe that my stance is harmful to anyone. Be at peace. I do not profess what I believe in order to offend or insult others, but I am not going to pretend I believe otherwise to appease others.


  1. Hi my names Hannah and I just read a great blog post about acceptance and love, written by someone on a life long journey to accept and love as best she can.
    My socks have been rocked!

  2. Well said. I am an active church person (United Church of Canada) and this pretty much sums up my beliefs as well (except for the God part). I think the idea that anyone can know the "one true path" or the "one true God" is not being true to themselves or to the world. I believe we all have different, but valid ways of looking at our purpose in the universe and the ways in which we are connected. I've turned down jobs from Christian schools because I couldn't profess that I believed in the "truth" as they saw it.

  3. Thank you to both of you for your comments. Life is a journey, yes, and I hope I always pick the path that is love. The UCC is the church my MiL belongs to, and I have great admiration for their philosophy and policies.

  4. You respect mine, I respect your's... what a concept!!! You are a genius and I love it!

  5. Thanks for such an eloquent blog, it sums up nicely how I feel about it. I find that mostly people are tolerant of other religions, but not of no religion. Having just taken the citizenship test, I know that the right actually states we "have the right to follow any religion or no religion". As my Mum always says "I don't believe in God, but I believe in good".

  6. Hey...Im not an atheist :) You have the room to be in this world exactly what you are! You don't need to apologize...and those who are secure in their beliefs really won't be challenged in a negative way by it. I like talking with and reading the life path of many diverse people! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :) Kimber from Stilettos in the Mud: Confessions of a Counterfeit Country girl